What has happened?
- Medical experts in India are battling the spread of yet another virus in the country.
- According to a Lancet study revealed on Saturday, India has recorded as many as 82 cases of tomato flu or tomato fever.
- According to the study, the common infectious disease targeting mostly children aged one to five years and immunocompromised adults could also be a new variant of hand, foot, and mouth disease.
- The study warned that tomato flu is “very contagious” and similar to other types of influenza and Called for “careful isolation of confirmed or suspected cases and other precautionary steps to prevent the outbreak of the tomato flu virus.
What is tomato flu?
- The flu affects children below five years of age.
- The symptoms of this flu, also called Tomato fever, include rashes, skin irritation and dehydration.
- According to several reports, the flu can also cause tiredness, joint pain, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, high fever, and body ache.
- In some cases, it may also change the colour of the legs and the hands.
- The disease gets its name on the basis of the eruption of red and painful blisters throughout the body that gradually enlarge to the size of a tomato.
- These blisters resemble those seen with the monkeypox virus in young individuals.
- The tomato flu was first identified in the Kollam district of Kerala on 6 May, 2022.
- Although the tomato flu virus shows symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 (both are associated with fever, fatigue, and body aches initially, and some patients with COVID-19 also report rashes on the skin), the virus is not related to SARS-CoV-2.
- Tomato flu could be an after-effect of chikungunya or dengue fever in children rather than a viral infection.
- Symptoms include, besides fever, fatigue, and body aches, rashes that lead to skin irritation.
- As with other viral infections, further symptoms include, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, swelling of joints, body aches, and common influenza-like symptoms, which are similar to those manifested in dengue.
- Patients showing the symptoms listed should go through molecular and serological tests for the diagnosis of dengue, chikungunya, zika virus, varicella-zoster virus, and herpes.
- Once these viral infections are ruled out, contraction of the tomato virus is confirmed.
How can it be prevented?
- Like other cases of flu, tomato fever is also contagious.
- If someone is infected with this flu, they need to be kept in isolation as this could spread rapidly from one person to another.
- This flu is a self-limiting one and there is no specific drug for this.
- This means that the symptoms will resolve overtime on their own if supportive care is given.
- It is essential to prevent children from scratching the blisters caused by the flu.
- Proper rest and hygiene is also advised.
- Utensils, clothes and other items used by the infected persons must be sanitised to prevent the flu from spreading.
- Fluid intake would also help counteract dehydration.
- Most importantly, it is important to seek your doctor’s advice if you notice the above-mentioned symptoms.
- After the alert issued by Lancet health magazine on the rising cases of tomato fever or tomato flu in India, medical professionals have called it a misleading colloquial name for Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD).
- Rajeev Jayadevan, co-chairman of IMA’s National task force on Covid-19 said,
- “Tomato fever is a misleading colloquial name for hand, foot, and mouth disease. This is a mild viral illness commonly affecting young children typically below age 10. It is usually caused by a Coxsackie virus.”
Q) Ringworm is what type of disease?